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Defended settlement, Romano-British settlement and field system 100m south and east of Jenny's Lantern

A Scheduled Monument in Hedgeley, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.431 / 55°25'51"N

Longitude: -1.8109 / 1°48'39"W

OS Eastings: 412062.193029

OS Northings: 615244.920798

OS Grid: NU120152

Mapcode National: GBR H5SM.QZ

Mapcode Global: WHC1B.4RXF

Entry Name: Defended settlement, Romano-British settlement and field system 100m south and east of Jenny's Lantern

Scheduled Date: 22 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008839

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21049

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hedgeley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Whittingham and Edlingham with Bolton Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date
and a stone-built settlement with part of its field system of Romano-British
date, occupying an area of high ground with a southerly aspect. It is divided
into two separate areas. The defended settlement, roughly oval in shape, is
situated on a spur immediately below the highest point of the hill. It
measures 100m north east to south west by 68m north west to south east within
two earthen ramparts 5m wide, two ditches and a slight counterscarp bank. The
outer rampart stands to a height of 1.5m on the north west side and the inner
rampart varies in height from 0.3m to 0.6m. The ditches are on average 6m
wide. There are clear entrances through the north east and the south west
corners of the enclosure. Within the enclosure there are the stone foundations
of at least three prehistoric circular houses measuring 4m-6m in diameter, and
associated fragments of stone walling 0.2m high; these remains are thought to
represent reuse of the settlement during the Romano-British period. Limited
excavations in 1885 uncovered part of a quern-stone, a stone hand-mill for
grinding corn. Its present location is unknown.
Immediately east of the defended settlement, situated on the brow of the hill,
there is an extensive Romano-British settlement and part of its field system.
The settlement comprises seven irregular embanked enclosures and the remains
of up to 15 stone-founded houses. Beginning at the eastern end of the
settlement there are two conjoining curvilinear enclosures. The most easterly
is 25m by 40m internally containing the remains of four stone houses ranging
in size from 5m to 10m in diameter with a sub-circular scooped yard, 18m in
diameter, at the rear. All of the houses have a clearly visible entrance in
the south or south east side. The second enclosure measures 36m by 50m
internally with an entrance in the south wall; it contains the remains of four
circular houses 8m to 11m in diameter situated towards the southern end of the
enclosure. Immediately to the south there is a third enclosure; it is
rectangular in shape and defined by a bank 3m wide and a sharply cut external
ditch. This enclosure is clearly a later construction as its northern bank has
been built on the south wall of the first enclosure. Further south,
immediately on the edge of a crag, lies the fourth enclosure, curvilinear in
shape and measuring 16m by 18m, with an entrance in its north wall allowing
access to it from the rest of the settlement. Some 18m east of this enclosure
there is a fifth enclosure, rectangular in shape, measuring 35m by 20m and
containing a rectangular yard along its south wall which is fronted by the
remains of three stone houses 8m-9m in diameter. The sixth enclosure is
situated 15m north east of this. It is also rectangular in shape, measures
32m by 16m internally and contains the remains of four stone houses, on
average 7m in diameter. This enclosure has been partially levelled but there
are still sufficient archaeological remains to allow the reconstruction of
its layout. An outlying hut circle, 8m in diameter and immediately to the
east, is attached to a fragment of stone walling.
Surrounding the settlement on the south and east sides there are the remains
of several of the fields cleared and worked by the inhabitants of the
settlement. This field system contains three irregular, rectangular fields
defined by long boundaries of rubble or boulders orientated north-south along
the line of maximum slope. They are bounded on the north by short cross walls
and on the south by a natural steep slope. The fields range in size from
0.24ha to 1.3ha but one is not completely enclosed. South of the most
easterly field there is a seventh enclosure, curvilinear in shape, which
measures 23m by 12m. It contains one hut circle 5m across in the south west
corner, and there are traces of a small enclosure in the north east corner.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small,
non-defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands, timber-built variants were
also common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the
enclosures were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more
common. Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish Border, another type occurs
where the settlement was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally only had one or two
houses but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common although
there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography. All
homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified
as nationally important.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of
Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right
angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are
generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular
shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive
monuments; the number of individual fields in recorded examples varies from 2
to approximately 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of biases in
the archaeological record rather than the true extent of such land divisions
during their period of use. A regular aggregate field system represents the
most common form of land division recognized so far in Roman Britain and
examples are known to have been in use from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD.
The fields were the primary units of production in a mixed farming economy,
incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. There are
approximately 100 recorded examples of regular aggregate field systems in
England. As rare monument types which provide an insight into land division
and agricultural practice during the Roman period all well preserved examples
will normally be identified as nationally important.

The Iron Age defended settlement, Romano-British settlement and its field
system south and east of Jenny's Lantern are extensive and particularly fine
examples of their types. Taken together, the Iron Age and Romano-British
settlements provide an insight into developing patterns of settlement and
land use through time. They are extremely well preserved and will contribute
to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric and Romano-British
settlement and agriculture. The importance of the Romano-British settlement
is enhanced by the survival of part of its field system. Such survivals are
rare and this very well preserved one is a valuable addition to their number.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gates, T, Ainsworth, S, Jenny's Lantern Settlement, (1981)
Gates, T, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North CBA GP 3' in Farming on the Frontier: R-B fields in Northumberland, (1982)
Hardy, J, 'Hist Berwickshire Natur Club part 1' in , (1885), 310-11
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 61
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 42' in Enclosed Stone Built Settlements in Northumberland, (1964), 64
Gates, T and Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 2, (1981)
includes plan at 1:1250, Gates, T & Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 2, (1981)

Source: Historic England

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